Anemia is a common concern, especially among women of child-bearing age. Since anemia can cause significant symptoms or be life-threatening in some cases, it is important to address the issue promptly.
Identify The Cause
Acute issues with anemia are easier to identify because they often accompany a trauma or emergency medical situation. Chronic anemia can be harder to diagnose. Identifying an underlying chronic problem is the first step to correcting anemia. Some ongoing concerns can be heavy or frequent menstrual periods, or gastrointestinal problems like ulcers, especially if you use NSAIDs. If you have problematic menstrual periods, your doctor might recommend certain types of birth control that can lessen the severity of your periods. A suspected ulcer may need to be diagnosed with an endoscopy, which is a procedure that uses a small camera to look at your upper gastrointestinal system. Ulcers may be treated with antibiotics, if they are related to H. pylori infection, or the use of medications to reduce stomach acid and allow your stomach to heal.
Choose The Right Supplement
Although some instances of anemia are directly related to a medical condition, sometimes it is a matter of poor nutrition or your body's inability to process iron. In either case, your doctor may recommend iron supplements, such as from Neuterre. Depending on the severity of your anemia, prescription iron might be used as a loading dose. After you finish your loading dose, you can switch to retail supplements. When choosing a retail supplement, you may think taking a multivitamin is best, but this is not always true. Some vitamins can reduce your absorption of iron. If you are taking a multivitamin choose one without iron and take a separate iron supplement. There are iron supplements on the market that are made from whole foods, which is more akin to iron acquired through your diet. Since iron can make some people nauseous, take your supplement with food and choose the slow-release variation, which is typically easier on your stomach.
Change Your Diet
Focusing more on your dietary sources of iron will enhance any benefits you receive from your supplements. Adding iron to your diet can be more of a challenge if you do not consume animal products, since meat is a popular source of iron. Beans, lentils, and tofu are good options that are not animal products. Spinach and broccoli are of special importance because they tend to be high in iron, but they are also rich in vitamin C. When taking your iron supplement, it is ideal to take it with a food that is high in vitamin C since it increases the absorption of iron. Eating whole foods is important for their nutrient value, but if you also consume any processed foods, carefully read labels to find items fortified with iron and other nutrients, such a bread, dairy, juice, or cereal.
For some people, anemia is an ongoing concern that requires regular monitoring and supplementation. By carefully considering the amount of iron you consume through different sources, you can prevent anemia from impacting your life.